Last year, one of my new year resolutions was to read more books. So, I started a #1book1month challenge with a goal of reading at least one book a month. I loved the journey! I got to read a variety of enlightening books from inspirational stories, to self help books, and even fiction. The challenge definitely rekindled my love for books, and I would totally recommend it to anyone that wants to read more books.
One of my favorite books from last year is THE MOMENT OF LIFT: HOW EMPOWERING WOMEN CHANGES THE WORLD by MELINDA GATES. The book definitely changed a lot of my thought processes, and further ignited my passion to do more for girls and women around the world.
I am going to be sharing my thoughts on some of my favourite quotes from the book.
“Being a feminist means believing that every woman should be able to use her voice and pursue her potential, and that women and men should all work together to take down the barriers and end the biases that still hold women back.”
This can’t be truer! I have always been an advocate of the fact that we need more men to be feminists. Feminism is not just a women’s thing. I still plan on writing a piece on the many ways that feminism benefits men, so look out for it! To achieve gender equity and equality, we need men to join their voices and work together with us. The truth of the society we live in today is that men still hold majority of the positions of power and authority. Men also tend to listen to themselves more. So, we need men to amplify our voices and make decisions that work towards removing the barriers and blocks to true gender equality. If you are a men reading this, don’t be afraid or shy to identify as a feminist. Feminist are not men eaters. In fact, identifying as a feminist means you join the league of cool men like Barack Obama and Justin
Trudeau, Fancy eh ?
“It’s the mark of a backward society – or a society moving backward – when decisions are made for women by men.”
Now this is a great follow up to my previous point. While we enjoin men to join their voices with ours and assist towards making decisions that propagate gender equality, decisions tailored for women have to be made with women in the room. Why? because no matter how much you, as a man, might empathise with the challenges women face, you are not a woman. The saying goes “only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches”. It is therefore only right that women are included in decisions that affect women. Resist the urge to play the role of a hero saving a woman in distress. Women are fully capable of knowing what they want, and what will be of the most benefit to them.
“When women can decide whether and when to have children, it saves lives, promotes health, expands education, and creates prosperity—no matter what country in the world you’re talking about.”
The fact there is still a debate around the issue of contraception bugs me. I have always known contraceptives are important, but reading this book made me realise how impactful access to contraceptives can be to a woman’s life. Melinda shared so many personal stories and anecdotes, I cannot begin to talk about them all. The burden of childbirth and child rearing falls heavily on women. It is therefore reasonable that they should be the primary decision makers when it comes to deciding when, and whether to have kids. Not their families, not society and definitely not the government! Unfortunately, that is not the case in many societies of the world. Many women still have to take contraceptives secretly for fear of being discovered by their spouses or spouse’s family. The whole issue is just absurd!
“What extreme poverty really means is that no matter how hard you work, you’re trapped. You can’t get out. Your efforts barely matter. You’ve been left behind by those who could lift you up.”
Majority of the people living in poverty all over the world are women. Yet women make up about 50% of the world population. Now does this mean women are lazy, or lazier than their male counterparts? NO! If you read my previous post on wealth privilege (https://ifyroberts.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/the-privilege-series-part-2/), I talked about how being born into wealth gives you a head start. Hard work does not necessarily equate wealth i.e the most hardworking people are not necessarily the wealthiest people. Poverty has a lot to do with structural and systemic barriers that unfortunately affect women more. Young girls are still disproportionately affected by lack of access to education. Child marriage, limited job opportunities, government policies and organisational policies still create barriers for women. These are issues that we have to work on as a society.
“… the power of women coming together, finding their voices and speaking up for their rights”
In other words, when women come together, change happens.
Ever heard the phrase “women are their own worst enemies”? I must confess I have used that phrase at one time or the other while trying to express my grief about women not supporting a cause. It is a rhetoric that has been passed down from one generation to the other, and has unfortunately succeeded often times in alienating women from each other. If we look at it critically though, it cannot be further from the truth. Yes, sometimes women bicker and don’t support each other, but this is true for men too. Men fight, in fact when men fight, it most times leads to violence. And by violence, I mean punching, stabbing, shooting kind of violence. Yet we never say men are their own worst enemies. From time, women have always been the ones coming up to fight for other women’s right. The feminist movement has been championed majorly by women. Women were the ones that came out to advocate for the right to vote, the right to be called persons, the right to bodily autonomy, the MeToo movement…All these causes were championed by women. The magnitude of things that can be achieved when women come together is enormous. In fact, it is said that “every man who is a bully is scared of a group of women”. We must therefore desist from spreading the false propaganda that women hate each other, and we are our own worst enemies. It is totally false and can hinder successful and powerful collaborations.
So there you have it, some of my favorite quotes from this awesome book. There is so much more I didn’t cover as I am mindful of boring you ?, but I really recommend you grab a copy, whether paper back, e-book, or audio book. I personally went the audio book route, read by Melinda herself, and the passion in her voice while reading the book was so palpable, I got goosebumps after hearing some of the stories she shared.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Share your thoughts in the comment section, and if you have read it, let me know what you thought about it.